Irish Question, No- 15]
IS IRELAND A NATION?
" She is a nation."— Mr. Paknell, House of Commons,
May 13, 1886.
<( We wish to see Ireland what God intended she should be —
a powerful nation."— Mr. T. M. Healy, at Boston, Dec. 24,
"Has England any more right to keep a neighbouring
people in Slavery for her profit or pleasure than the planter
of Jamaica or the slave-owner of Alabama had that right ? '' — Sir
C. Gavan Duffy, Contemporary Beview, May, 1886.
This is the demand of the Irish Nationalists — that Ireland shall
have a Separate Parliament, because the Irish (or rather
the majority of Irish Catholics) are a Separate nation from
the inhabitants of Great Britain, are an oppressed and mis-
governed nationality, who cannot get justice from the Imperial
This demand (never before admitted by a responsible
English statesman) is now suddenly conceded by Mr. Glad-
stone's Government. Liberal policy for the last 20 years has
been to do justice to Ireland. Mr. Gladstone now asks us to
take " a new departure v and set aside Liberal laws, how-
ever just, because, coming to Ireland "in a foreign garb,"
they fail to conciliate the Irish National sentiment. His Chief
Secretary, Mr. John Morley, compares Ireland under the rule of
the Imperial Parliament to Greece or Bulgaria under the Turks,
or Italy under the Austrians.
When our kinsfolk, the Americans of the Northern States,
were asked, twenty -five years ago, to grant independence to the
Southern Confederation as a separate nation, they replied that
they could not " subordinate geographical considera-
tions to national sentiment."
We Englishmen are now asked to subordinate not only
geographical, but Imperial, economical, political and
( 2 )
moral considerations to the national sentiment of the Irish
Geographical : because Ireland is only sixty miles distant
from England, and only twenty miles from Scotland. . '
Imperial : because the union of the vast British Empire will
be seriously weakened by any loosening of the bonds of the
Economical * because the trade and prosperity of England
and Ireland will be undoubtedly injured by their separation.
Political: because the Parliament of the United Kingdom
will be broken up and reduced to a Parliament of Great Britain
And Moral, because England will be unable to fulfil her
obligations to the loyal and law-abiding inhabitants of Ireland.
who demand that they shall not be deserted.
Englishmen, will you subordinate all these con
siderations to Irish national sentiment? or will you
not rather, like your American brethren, offer a determined
and Successful resistance to this attempt to create within
the United Kingdom two nations, two Parliaments, and
Kemember that if we once recognise the Irish Catholics as a
Separate nation, we cannot justly or logically refuse theiu
that complete independence which is the right of every
separate nation! Did not Mr. Parnell himself say at Cork,
January 21, 1885 :— " No man has the right to fix the
boundary to the march of a nation."
Kemember the words of Lord Spencer, when Lord Lieutenant
of Ireland under Mr. Gladstone's last Government : —
" We hold that the continued union of Ireland with this
country is of vital importance to us. We feel like the
Americans when the integrity of their country was
threatened, and, if necessaiy, we must shed blood
to maintain the strength and salvation of this
country.— Bristol, Nov. 14, 1881.
Published by the Liberal Committee for the Maintenance of the
Legislative Union between Great Britain and Ireland,
35, Spring Gardens, S.W.